This is exactly what happened, without embellishment or exaggeration, told as best I am able.
On Easter Sunday, on our way to church, Teen Girl announced without emotion,
“I found my phone”.
Nobody else in the car was without emotion right then, because the lost phone had dominated family dynamics for three long weeks, ever since the school fete. No less than two (2) family members (adults both) had come back empty handed from “thoroughly” searching the car, and yet here the phone was, in the side pocket beside the seat that Teen Girl habitually occupies.
The relief shared by all was manifold, because this special little phone, which has the photos of five family members on five buttons, nothing else, has been key to expanding Teen Girl’s world this year. She now walks safely to the park and back, keeping in touch with us when she feels the need. Or, when we do.
At this point my Favourite Wife declared her hand:
“I’ve been praying for an Easter Miracle, this is it!”
Whether or not a phone found exactly where someone left it, and where nobody looked, is in quite the same class as The Resurrection was a thought that briefly occupied my cynical mind; but an altogether more worthy thought quickly replaced it.
“I think I know a better one”, I said.
Until that precise moment I had not recognised the timing of a personal sequence of events which, to my mind, comes much closer to the category of Resurrection. See what you think…
Late in March I had been to see the Neurologist for an annual appointment, and a change I was experiencing in my ability to push the wheelchair led him to use the descriptive medical phrase, “Fatiguable muscle weakness”. These three words, as I began to understand them in the following week, were an absolute revelation. Fatigue was a word I had often rejected, because I always feel sharp and energetic; and muscle weakness had been regularly rejected by the specialists because I am still surprisingly strong on examination. But when combined these words are used to describe the function of the junction between nerve and muscle; and how it can work well once, twice, a few times, and then rapidly fade. After eight years I had, at long last, an understanding of the process that has been affecting my mobility and breathing and much else. I suddenly understood why I can do some things well, and others not well at all. It was extraordinarily helpful, and immediately allowed better management of daily life. But this is not the Easter Miracle.
If you search online for this phrase it points to a particular condition – a treatable condition! – which I had often been tested for in the past, without result. As I read about this in the week before easter I came across a curious symptom of the condition which I can remember doctors looking for in the past: a change in the shape of the eyelid. Straight to the mirror I went, and I was startled by what I saw, or at least what I thought I saw. By Good Friday I was convinced; and so began a tense mental tug-of-war balancing the possibility of treatment with the obvious pitfalls of self diagnosis. The stakes are high. Throughout the last eight years, to be very candid, I have never been able to see myself any more than about two years into the future. It sounds morbid I’m sure; quite foolish perhaps, but the spectre of Motor Neurone Disease is tenacious. Small, incidental phrases that doctors use stay with you. Once a neurologist assured me that I categorically did not have MND … “now ….. but whether we can rule it out in the future I can’t say”. You don’t forget a comment like that. Another said, while doing one of many nerve conduction studies with wires and needles, “It’s funny you know (I wasn’t laughing); you can do this over and over again and find no degeneration, and then one day, there it is”. And so with gradually increasing dependance on mobility aids and then mechanical ventilation, and with a complete absence of medical opinion, I have been unable to loose this sense of “a couple of years” as the time frame for my life.
But as the Easter weekend progressed I began to see myself living a decade, two decades, three! I could see my grandchildren at ages that I had subconsciously not allowed in my thoughts. I saw myself at home, with my wife and family, growing old. I was immersed in euphoria, relief, joy! And yet …… this was nothing more than self diagnosis. My thoughts became agitated in the weeks following Easter, swinging from excitement one day to the sheer foolishness of second guessing the medical profession the next.
Tomorrow, at the neurology clinic, I may just find out.
I’ve been through this appointment-eve trial of nerves so often in the past; it’s no fun. I probably won’t sleep much tonight, but who knows what the new day may bring?